Transit Briefs: NY MTA, LAX, Province of British Columbia

Written by

Carolina Worrell, Editor-in-Chief

The new LIRR hall is expected to be largely complete by March 2023. (MTA)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) unveils first section of new 18-foot ceilings at Penn Station Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Crowd. Also Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) launches the first Automated People Mover (APM) car and the Province of British Columbia launches the first supply for Surrey Langley Skytrain.


The MTA unveiled the first section of the large new LIRR concourse ceiling at Penn Station on August 2. The new ceiling, which has been raised 18 feet, is supported by an “innovative” framing system, installed by Skanska/AECOMwhich successfully removed the 6ft 8in low beams informally called “Head Knockers” earlier this year.

Project teams are increasing the ceiling height to 18 feet across the entire LIRR concourse and doubling its width from 30 feet to 57 feet, according to MTA. The teams are also improving the lighting, in particular by installing a new luminous ceiling; improved airflow; modern finishes; more intuitive guidance; and better accessibility to the station. A major section of the completed 33rd Street corridor will be open to the public this fall, according to MTA, with the LIRR concourse substantially complete by March 2023.

“This first section of new caps is just the start of a phased reveal over the next few months that will allow customers to take advantage of the new space before substantial completion,” MTA said.

The existing renovations will be incorporated into a total transformation of Penn Station, Governor Kathy Hochul announced in June. “Crews will replace the existing facility with a single-level, world-class, modern, spacious and bright station that is easy to navigate.”

“The unveiling of new, higher ceilings in the LIRR lobby is both a milestone and a sign of things to come at Penn Station,” said MTA Construction and Development President Jaime Torres-Springer. “As this project nears its scheduled completion, these new caps are just a preview of the substantial improvements Penn Station riders will experience starting this fall.”

Photos of the new 18 foot ceilings are available here.

Rendering of the APM train from LAX. (Courtesy of LAWA)


LAX unveiled its first APM train on August 2, which is part of the 2.25 mile elevated guideway should be operational in 2023, SCS reported.

The first train departed from from Alstom Pittsburgh factory and arrived at LAX in June, followed by three more. According SCSthey are among 44 trains arriving at the airport as part of the driverless train system, which is described as the ‘centerpiece of LAX’s Landside access modernization programcomprising six stations and including connections to the light rail system.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) joined other local politicians and officials, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, at the LAX Maintenance and Storage Center on August 2 to celebrate the progress of the APM project.

According Los Angeles Worldwide Airports (LAWA), during peak hours (9 a.m. to 11 p.m.), the APM will run nine trains of four cars each and will be able to carry up to 50 passengers and their luggage, for a total of 200 passengers per train. The train’s speed will top out at 47 mph. Trains will be available at each station every two minutes during peak hours with a total of 10 minutes end-to-end journey time (from the Consolidated Car Rental Facility to West CTA Station). For easy access, according to LAWA, APM trains will have tall, wide doors with level boarding and each car will have 12 designated seats for travelers in need. APM will be free for all users and will operate 24/7. With an expected use of approximately 30 million passengers per year, LAWA estimates that APM will result in 117,000 fewer vehicle-kilometres traveled per day.

APM trains, elevators, escalators and moving walkways provide quick access to terminals and stations, says LAWA. Passengers will be able to view real-time flight information, public art in a variety of media, and see the iconic themed building from a whole new perspective as the train enters the CTA.

“As we welcome the first car that will take travelers to renovated terminals, parking structures, a subway and a new car rental facility, it’s clear that a completely redesigned LAX is on the horizon,” said said Garcetti, as reported by SCSadding that APM “will solve the sidewalk congestion that has plagued the airport for decades.”

“I am thrilled and proud to see the first train cars delivered for LAX APM,” Waters said, as reported by SCS. “Construction is progressing at a rapid pace and when complete will allow airline passengers to reach their terminals from anywhere near a light rail line at a fraction of the current cost and without contributing to the local traffic or vehicle emissions.”

In addition to reducing traffic, according to LAWA, the APM will leverage “leading sustainability practices to reduce the carbon footprint of the airport area.” The 44 cars in the system will be fully electric, 98% recyclable and generate some of their own power through regenerative braking, while providing industry-leading ride quality for users, adds LAWA. The command center and maintenance facility, according to LAWA, generates nearly half of its electricity from solar power and is designed to be LEED Gold certified.

Surrey Langley’s SkyTrain is the first rapid transit expansion south of the Fraser River in 30 years. Map courtesy of the Province of British Columbia.

Province of British Columbia

The Province of British Columbia has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to build the Surrey Langley SkyTrain elevated guideway – the first contract for the project, which will provide high-quality, low-cost transportation to dozens of thousands of people in Surrey, Langley and surrounding areas, depending on the province.

As part of the competitive selection process, the RFP was issued to identify a contractor to design, construct and partially finance the guideway, roadworks and utilities, and active transportation elements, such as cycle and pedestrian paths along the extension. Responses from interested parties are expected on November 1, 2022.

Following the RFP evaluations, up to three teams will be selected to participate in the next phase of the competitive selection process, which is the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage.

According to the province, the Surrey Langley SkyTrain, a 16 kilometer extension of the Expo line from King George station to downtown Langley, will be delivered under three different contracts. This approach, according to the province, “will increase competition and allow smaller, more local companies to bid on different elements of the project.”

The second contract will consist of the construction of eight new SkyTrain stations, including active transportation elements, such as bike paths and walking paths around the stations. Procurement for the second contract is expected to begin in the fall.

The third contract will cover the design and installation of the SkyTrain tracks, as well as the design, installation and integration of electrical systems, such as power, telecommunications and automatic train control (ATC) . Procurement for the contract is expected to begin as early as December 2022.

Major construction of the $3.95 billion Surrey Langley SkyTrain, the first rapid transit expansion south of the Fraser River in 30 years, is set to begin in 2024, with commissioning scheduled for the end of 2028.

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